Address: Newmarket Road,
Capacity: 8,127 (4,376 Seated)
Speaking from personal experience, this is not the place you want to come to when your team is about to win a league title.
Originally built in 1923, it wasn’t until 1932 that its current tenants Cambridge United Football Club moved in, and they’ve remained there ever since.
Cambridge United, then known as Abbey United, had moved to Parker’s Piece for the start of the 1930-31 season but this proved unsuccessful as there was no capacity to the ground and persistent disruption was caused during matches.
Then-president Henry Francis donated land to the club in 1931, erecting a grandstand and changing rooms onto it. The Abbey Stadium was built on this donated land, though it wouldn’t have its Abbey name until 1961.
Between 2006 and 2014 the ground was also home to Cambridge Regional College, a feeder team to Cambridge United, but that agreement ended once that club dissolved.
Location and Getting There
The Abbey Stadium is located in the west part of Barnwell, around 1.5 miles northeast of Cambridge City Centre. Barnwell Lake is due west of the ground, the River Cam is to the north and west, and Cambridge Airport is to the southeast.
As you would expect, the best place to find parking is in nearby Barnwell.
It’s a nice residential area with plenty of available streets but be sure to not park anywhere with restriction notices in place or block the drives of any resident's houses.
Cambridge Railway Station and Cambridge North Railway Station are a similar distance away from the Abbey Stadium.
Given they are on the same line I recommend getting off at the former and either walking north to the ground (around 30 minutes), or taking the Citi 3 bus service which loops round through Cambridge City Centre and getting off at Ditton Walk, a little while away from the Abbey Stadium’s North Stand.
Outside the Ground
The North Stand is the smallest of the four at the Abbey Stadium and can be found at the end of one of the club’s car parks. It’s better known to fans are the Newmarket Road End because of the street that it backs out on to.
You can find buildings which house the Club Shop, Main Ticket Office, and the CUFC Supporters Club around here and some of the turnstiles can be found up next to the stand’s exterior.
The rest of the turnstiles are down a narrow path on the other side of a Car and Van Rental company which takes up a lot of the space beyond the Newmarket Road End’s exterior. This path can be found in a narrow gap between the rental company space and a row of houses.
Continuing in a clockwise direction brings you to the Main Stand.
You can get to this either down the aforementioned narrow path or by turning off Newmarket Road and down Cut Throat Lane.
An alternative route if you are coming from the east is to turn off Whitehill Road on Elfleda Road, and then continue up it until you reach Cut Throat Lane near the end of the cul-de-sac. Enter through either set of gates here into the ground’s main car park, and the Main Stand itself is next to that.
The stand’s exterior is made up mostly of brickwork, which is admittedly rather bland in colour but does serve its purpose well.
Turnstiles can be found in the ground’s northeast corner, and there are two staircases coming out the back of the stand which are used by fans for exiting after the game is finished.
Given the South Stand’s turnstiles are on one side, over by the southwest corner, there is only one way you can get to this stand’s exterior.
Coldham’s Brook is right next to the Abbey Stadium’s west side, and there is a public footpath alongside the field coming off Newmarket Road which fans walk down to reach these South Stand turnstiles. You cannot get round this stand from the east side as it is the designated away area and Cambridge close it off to prevent fanbases from mixing.
The South Stand’s exterior looks the most modern of all four at the Abbey Stadium, with a sandy-coloured brickwork base, dark grey corrugated iron in its upper parts, and a light grey cantilever roof coming down from the top.
You can also find the Control Box attached to the South Stand in the southeast corner of the ground.
The West Stand is better known as the Habbin Stand. It is named after Harry Habbin, a famous fan from Cambridge United’s early days.
To get to this stand you have to take the same Coldham’s Brook footpath as those heading for the South Stand do, though you don’t have to go as far down it. There are three small staircases you can go up that lead to the Open Terrace and the Habbin Stand’s turnstiles, and South Stand fans continue on to the fourth staircase for their turnstiles.
The Habbin Stand’s exterior is fairly basic in design, made up mostly of grey corrugated iron in its upper parts and roof. Like the Main Stand opposite, it serves its purpose well though.
Inside the Ground
The Newmarket Road End is made up of a single tier of standing terrace. It does not run the whole way along the north side of the pitch and the space next to the northwest corner is instead taken up by the enclosure for disabled supporters.
The covered terrace area has three rows of black bars which fans can lean on during the game, with the letters AMBER ARMY written in black on the back wall.
Supporting pillars come down towards the front of the stand and will restrict your view slightly if you are stood further back in the stand. They will not get in your way if you are stood right down at the front.
The terrace area only has one windshield which partly covers the right-hand-side, and there is a small uncovered terracing area over by the northwest corner which is available if all the covered area is taken up.
The Main Stand is divided into two tiers, with the upper tier much larger than the one below.
The lower tier blocks are benches, with equally spaced out grooves for fans to sit on.
The upper tier is made of traditional blue seating, with one of the executive boxes down the front coloured yellow instead. The Abbey Stadium’s changing rooms, dugouts and tunnel can all be found in here.
Your view from the lower tier benches is perfectly clear, though this is mostly due to there being very little of the Main Stand’s roof hanging overhead. The upper tier seats meanwhile will have some form of a restricted view as pillars come down regularly at the front.
The South Stand is made up of a single-tier of yellow seating, with the letters CUFC spelt out in black across the blocks. There is an additional sliver of white seating used to give each letter a 3D effect.
The stand’s cantilever roof means that there are no supporting pillars coming down and so your view from any seat is great, but there are no windshields on either end; just a small brick wall to keep the cold out for those sat on the end seats.
The view from the South Stand arguably makes it the best stand at the Abbey Stadium, but there are one or two snags.
Firstly, the bottom row of this stand is not at ground-level. There is a brick wall down at the very front and a fairly large drop to the grass underneath. Cambridge have staircases in place should fans need to get onto the pitch and out of the stand from the front.
Secondly, there is a lot of open space between the South Stand and the South Goal, which can make this stand feel disconnected from the rest of the Abbey Stadium.
The original reason for this was because Cambridge had plans to construct a larger North Stand and move the pitch closer to the South Stand. These plans have not yet come to fruition though.
The Habbin Stand is a single tier of standing terrace.
The roof covers most of the stand’s interior, but there is an uncovered terracing area at either end. The one closest to the southwest corner holds The Tea Bar, where Habbin Stand fans can get refreshments during the game.
There are three rows of black metal bars in place for fans to lean on but supporting pillars do come down from the roof. These restrict the view for those inside, expect for any fans stood on the front rows.
You won’t find windshields in place either because of the open terracing area at either end of the Habbin Stand.
Away fans are housed behind the goal in the South Stand.
Smaller allocations are given a couple of blocks, usually those by the southwest corner, and larger crowds take up more of the South Stand blocks.
You do have a perfectly clear view of the action from here, but the big drop in front of you and the open space between the front row and the South Goal is designed to prevent fans from disrupting the game.
My first visit here was with Burton Albion on the day the club won the League Two title. Tradition would see fans flood onto the pitch to celebrate with the players, but that was really difficult to do given how far away from the pitch and how far down you have to go before you reach ground level.
The Cambridge away day isn’t very entertaining either when several thousand away fans are in attendance and they have to walk across what is usually a muddy field and a narrow public footpath just to get to the turnstiles.
Pubs available to supporters include*:
-The Regal (38-39 St Andrew's Street, CB2 3AR) (A JD Wetherspoon Pub, Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near Cambridge City Centre)
-The Supporters Club at the Abbey Stadium itself (Away Supporters Welcome, though likely not during High-Profile Games)
-The Tram Depot (5 Dover Street, CB1 1DY) (Located in more Central Cambridge)
-The Wrestlers Pub (Newmarket Road, DB5 8JE) (Located near to Cambridge Retail Park)
*Pubs around the Abbey Stadium that are available to away supporters are limited in number. It may be advisable to find a drink in more Central Cambridge before heading to the stadium itself.
It's not the easiest to get to, but the Abbey Stadium is perfectly fine for modern football.
You can argue that its away end has the best design and view of the ground, though those who like being right up next to the action on the pitch would no doubt disagree.
The home sections are perfectly adequate, though all provide restricted views for most of the fans inside.
All in all though, this is a worthy member of the 92 and worth checking out if you love your football.